Sunday, August 31, 2008

too ready for bed

the twins: click to enlarge
the twins: click to enlarge


the kid made really good dinner, and we both ate too much. on the way to eatliz, in the intensely disgusting humidity i suddenly felt ill, exhausted and on the verge of collapse. this feeling continued until jaguar superfiction began the warmup for eatliz. they were simply brilliant, and apparently the eatliz crew thinks so too. the main performance was superb as usual, and the new songs have me waiting for the next album to debut!

ran into my old math lecturer at the concert - didn't get a chance to talk to him, though. pity, he really did a good job with me in my final year, it's thanks to him and our constant fighting in class that i scored 100% and actually enjoyed myself.

i'm almost done packing, but i haven't done a damn thing as far as the projects i needed to complete are concerned. i need another weekend.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

humdrum

i slept quite a bit today, but definitely not enough. i caught up on a lot of webcomics, and i've begun packing. again. i spoke to my regular commander, and now that i understand where he fits on the scale i know just how to talk to him... like a subordinate. and it works :S

the kid just introduced me to redband, the israeli answer to flight of the conchords - it's really, really good.

i can't tune a guitar for shit. it's quite frustrating.

bullshit bingo is a game i want to play!

the incredible plan

right, what are the chances? i called up ze germans concerning our snowboarding adventure, and was informed that there's a large bunch organizing a chalet on the slopes of the french alps.

so i think to myself, i think, "hmm, that sounds like fun, but what if the dates don't work for me?", and i ask ze germans, i ask, "when are you planning to do this?", and they tell me, they say, "the last week of january"...

kind of strange that that's EXACTLY when i was planning to go, just like the last time. and this time it's with a whole group of friends at a special price. i like. i am satified. deeply satisfied. this could be good ^_^

the beach was nice, i had a really good time talking to my niece without all the nurses and doctors around, and this evening with singer was pleasant and comfortable... and she brought me back copies of johnny the homicidal maniac! sweet :)

now i need to clear my bed so that it can be put to the use it was intended for.

ah, yes: the two subjects of the afternoon.

1) inheritance

my brother who hath swindled his needy siblings and their progeny of much needed oodles of dough. may he have all the love that money can buy. yeah, it would have been nice if my sister's kids could have had their education paid for, but who knows, maybe it's better that they make it themselves. heck, they're doing well enough by themselves and that's satisfaction that can't be purchased.

2) mortgage

have cash, will borrow. mortgage is a question of perspective: are you paying off a huge debt, or are you increasing your initial investment incrementally and not paying rent to anyone else and living with a justified sense of permanence? and when that initial sum has increased enough you can buy up.

money most certainly does make my head go around.

i believe

during the course of this week i was put in a situation wherein i had to deliver a speech defining the essentials of what i believe. i find that difficult to do in english, so to push it out in hebrew was quite a challenge.

אני מאמין
אני מאמין שאין דבר גדול שבן אדם לא יכול להשיג... אלא לא תמיד בדרך המתוכננת, אלא אם הוא לא תמיד יראה את תוצאות פעולותיו בזמן האמת - העיקר שיראה אותן בראש, ובראשו במה שהוא מקיים ביום יום.

בן אדם חכם יכול להצדיק את כל מעשיו.

מסלו: מעבר לצורכים הביולוגיים כל בן אדם שואף להוכיח לעצמו את כוחו והשפעתו. הרבה יותר קשה להשפיע למען הטוב, להציל ולבנות בניגוד ללזלזל ולהזיק. יותר קל לשרוף את הספר מלחיות לפיו.

ההחלטה הקשה ביותר היא מתי לבחור את הדרך הקלה.

"citizen"-ו "civilian" ההבדל בין
הרוויח את זכויותיו "citizen"-הוא שה


בן אדם ללא עקרונות הוא רק חצי בן אדם, אבל כל בן אדם צריך להיות מוכן לעמוד בביקורת של עקרונותיו. עדיף להיות חצי בן אדם מלעמוד על עקרונות שלא עברו ביקורת - כלומר על כל בן אדם לוודא שהוא באמת מאמין בהם.



i believe
i believe that there is no great thing that a man cannot achieve... although not always by the intended method, and even if he won't always see the results of his actions in real time - what's important is that he sees the results in his mind, and in the actions that he performs everyday.

a smart man can justify all of his actions.

maslow: of greater import than his physiological needs is man's aspiration to prove to himself his strength and his influence. it's far more difficult to influence for good, to save and to build as opposed to degrade and to damage.
it is easier to burn the book than to live according to it.

the most difficult decision to make is when to choose the easier path.

the difference between a civilian and a citizen* is that the citizen earns his rights.

a man without principles is only half a man, but every person needs to be ready to undergo re-evaluation of his principles. it is better to be half a man than to stand on principles that haven't been fully tested; in other words, it is the responsibility of every person to ensure that he really believes in what he stands for.


* there's only one word in hebrew for civilian and citizen (אזרח)

Friday, August 29, 2008

spy games

you know, the more i think about the events that occurred the last few days the more certain i am that the sneaky kid is a plant. that it's his job to test us and push us and keep our commander up to date.

if so, it's a brilliant disguise. if not, well, i'm just going to have to get him to talk at my level and not his. if i could do it with piles, i have to believe that i can do it with him.

buggrit... gotta watch my back

so yeah, i've had breakfast and i'm off to the beach with my niece. singer's back, i'll have supper with her tonight and catch up, and everyone i'm responsible for is safe and sound.

1) i know i'm being monitored, that's par for the course [i really should'nt have, but i can't help myself], but the degree of accuracy to which my commander seems to understand what's going on is phenomenal. i talked to him about the incident, and it looks like he knows what's up, how and with who. i don't even want to know who his sources are.

2) i called the nose-picker to wish him a speedy recovery and a good weekend from the team... and he's informed me that he's going to be joining us come sunday. now i'm all paranoid again, and i think it might be time to buy wet-wipes for all the accidental contact and hand-shaking and so on. if there's one thing i've learned, it's to be very afraid of things like herpes.

shopping done. the sun is shining. it's time to go.

from tragedy to success

thought for the week:
"what? you're stopping me for this shit? do you have any idea how much contraband i'm carrying?!"

the best moment of all the courses so far:
all the toilet stalls manned, and i read aloud one of the quotes. the guy in the stall next to me started giggling, and the rest of us got the giggles. we spent no less than five minutes all laughing raucously, getting more and more hysterical every time someone came in to use the urinals and got freaked out. best laugh i've had in years, and quite the bonding experience. and totally awkward.

worst item of the week:
one of my team got sent home, a herpes infection of the eye. that's pretty damn serious, poor bastard. i say poor bastard, i really do feel sorry for him, but at the same time we're all completely freaked out because we're all covered in minor injuries and we're terrified of infection. and aside from the usual unconscious touching of eyes and ears and so forth, this dude's a nose-picker [in other words, he's constantly doing things he's not aware of], making it all the worse.

i'm losing my voice due to all the green junk that i'm incubating in my lungs and throat. a dust allergy in the desert isn't cool.

my commander: he's, like, a commander-god. he's an expert in psychology, and a fantastic actor to boot - all this in addition to being the kind of commander that always behaves exactly as he should and doesn't miss a damn thing. i *wish* i'd had commanders like this during my service.

my mission:
my commander turned the first few days of this week into absolute hell for me, and i spent most of it trying not to cry from sheer frustration... but as of two nights ago i managed to prove myself to him and the last two days were awesome. i failed in a couple of my objectives, but i managed to bring the team closer together (even if it was initially out of anger with my management style) and everything wrapped up nicely. i'm actually proud of them at the moment ^_^

my abysmal failure:
i'm not counting the number of times i lost soldiers or delayed classes. what really got to me was one of my teammates, a kid who everyone agrees is not officer material, who keeps taking advantage of my inability to play word games in hebrew and throws a wrench into anything that works. he did something disgusting yesterday and i reported it to my commander, but he's only going to deal with the incident on sunday so i've no idea how this is going to go.

i have a feeling that things could go badly for me because he's a good talker and a sneaky, underhanded bastard. i tried to talk to him afterwards, but he doesn't get that i talk the way i talk because i am who i am, and he can't bring himself to listen to my point of view. i know that the rest of the team understands my position, but i don't really know if they have the power to keep him leashed.

this week we formally learned about command and management, and i sat in shock as it dawned on me that i was a terrible commander during the 2005 / 2006 episode. i mean, i knew i made loads of mistakes but there were essential things that i never even thought about implementing... that i'd never heard of. it's all starting to make sense!

anyway, there's still a bunch of things to get down (about ten or so more posts-worth) but i have got stuff to do.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

shaved and off

it's been a nice morning. i might've slept a bit more, though.

fallout 3 has a release date! and a comic strip by penny arcade!

i've got another twenty minutes to remove my clothes from the lines, pack, and get back to work... hope it's a good week!

the fainting

so i did some research into children's game, and selected "nose, nose, nose, mouth", "zombie" and "prohibited movements" to try and induce some team-spirit and discipline during the coming week.

i haven't had a chance to mention the incident of the week. we have ropes, and i'm pretty darn good at climbing them. unfortunately at the beginning of the week my left forearm began to ache after i came down from one of them. the pain went away after a few hours, but it was quite an irritation.

a couple of mornings later, in a sterling mood, i went up again on my way to kitchen duty. again it hurt, but hey, it was gonna go away, right? so i carried on with my duties, my arm hurting more and more as i went along.

around 6.30am we sat down to eat, and i was in torment. in addition to the extreme pain my arm was causing me, i burned my fingertips on piping hot boiled eggs... and then i began feeling awful. that really horrible feeling that i get when i'm about to faint. i rested my head on my other arm, thinking that it might just pass, and the girl sitting across from me began to worry when she noticed that i was in a cold sweat.

"no, no, don't worry, i'll be fine," i think i said. it was kinda hard to communicate. eventually someone carried me from the tables and they lay me down on the floor, and after about half a minute i was feeling considerably better. i was escorted to the clinic, where the medic almost went into shock - my blood pressure was at 80/24. my body temperature wasn't too hot either at 33o, but he calmed down when he checked me five minutes later and it had risen to 34o.

they left me to lie down in the back of the clinic for a couple of hours, and just as the pain in my arm began to ease up the doctor arrived. a couple of hours later and i got a chance to actually sit down with him, and he went over my files and explained to me very simply that i suffer from vasovagal syncope. put simply, i faint.

i have to do a "tilt-table" test. i *know* i have postural low-blood pressure, so going through the motions seems kind of silly.
from the wikipedia article: "The test ends when the patient faints or has other significant symptoms, at which time he or she is given medical attention"

fantastic.

i'd fool around with project euler, but it's already very late. and i have to pack in the morning.

ooh, forgot to mention: i now have a definite group of three friends for this season's snowboarding: egg, the mongoose and karnaf. ze germans are going to get back to me next weekend, and i've sent a message to SxS to see how serious he is. this is gonna be a good trip!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

stubborn as a...

to all the winds, gods and other such entities, i have never seen anyone as stubborn as my niece. i walked into her room in the hospital as the doctors got there, and listened to them trying desperately to explain to her what was going on... eventually giving up and walking away.

she'd been trying to negotiate her way out of being sick, trying to rationalize them letting her go (and doing so in a rather unpleasant fashion), and doing an extremely good job of not listening. once they'd left, she tried to make sure that i understood just how obviously unqualified these doctors are.

now she's angry with me because i don't think that her discharging herself against medical advice is a particularly good idea.

anyway, i had breakfast with the mongoose and it was really good to see him, we had a lot to talk about and he even came up to pay my niece a visit.

around 4pm i left to play frisbee with karnaf in the park, stopping for an excellent sandwich and filter coffee on the way. after a solid couple of hours, covered in sweat and grass and with a slightly deeper tan (and sore fingers), i bought ginger ale, mountain dew, root beer and guarana and met up with the kid for a most decent bacon and cheese sandwich (i'm going back to a religious platoon tomorrow, i need reminders of my heathen-ness), showered, and went to mmf's to get my wedding invitation and play wii.

i suck at tennis.

speaking of weddings - of the two weddings that i wanted to go to they only authorized mmf's. i told the kid's brother that i wouldn't be making it to his and he commented that it's weird that i'm not being allowed to go... bummer. what's bothering me more than that is that the day after mmf's i'm going to have to return to base, which means i'm going to have to behave myself to a certain extent, and that makes me sad.

i've just got home and had a quick cold shower, briefly met the new flatmate (who does seem alright), and now i have to get ready for the next week. i'm getting tired just thinking about it.

visiting the sick

one of the things i came back home to do last night was laundry... the kid didn't think to get all of his done before i got back from a three week stint, did all of his as well, and instead of taking me five minutes to hang everything out it took about half an hour of wrangling and sukkling (struggling) with washing lines. by that stage it was too late to go back to the hospital to visit my niece. that sucked.

instead, i took the book i'm reading (ori ben ari - after me! [!אחרי]) to cafeneto for a roast beef sandwich. the book is absorbing, but i'm a slow reader and i have three weeks to produce a book report on it :(

after testing new dvds (full metal jacket and the back to the future box set) i settled on watching bad boys 2 - i'm SO glad i bought it, it's just as awesome as the first. i was planning on passing out in front of the telly, but it was simply too enthralling. i hadn't remembered a thing from the cinema.

i'm going back to the hospital in a few minutes, the mongoose is meeting me there for a cup of coffee before i go back inside.

in the three weeks that i've been out we've developed a serious cockroach problem.

i'm going to try to find time to write down some of the bits of the last month, but i'm starting to suspect that it's not going to happen.

Friday, August 22, 2008

exhausted - no time to rest

the scribbles are as follows:

all that stress for no behaviour record + no lock, kitchen duty from hell pt. 1
6 in AM no sleep (eaten + too tall) - caught 10:01 [form] -
70% exam sleeping - 'orrible first lunch - entrance [ammo
clip issues] - the bus - hard morning no breakfast - studying
'til late. [haircut, first lie, mom at 11pm]
->physical:36 pushups + 36 mins + ההקדמה; half מסדר +recycle +kitchen
on time for bed, horrible throat, range 1
wasted for the מג"ד who woke me up (right place)
then the מ"פ (you're in)
name calling
clearing sandtables
a day of קצונות (rope + group pushups) after מד"ס
first friday night + dinner craziness
... and so it goes on, the scribbles getting tinier and tinier and the days getting longer and longer.

basically, it's been three ridiculous weeks. there're a lot of details i'll fill in once i've had some sleep, but right now i'm going back to the hospital. my niece is in israel, we had breakfast together, and then i had to rush her off to emergency (with which i'm becoming way too familiar)... she's being hospitalized for the weekend, and she's pissed.

Monday, August 04, 2008

fingers crossed and eyes skywards

mmmm - slept well and slept late :)

now i'm off, and praying that everything goes as smoothly as it should.

arm transplants? having learned something new [and its history], i'm done online for the next while. have a great couple of weeks, everyone!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

embrace change

wow - i'm really tired and i haven't packed yet. and i'm nervous as hell, not just because i haven't studied enough but also because there's a requirement i don't meet and it's possible that i'll arrive on tuesday and be sent home immediately. that would suck.

today started way too early, and i barely made the bus. business as usual. i had breakfast with one of my teammates, relinquished my weapon and verified that i didn't need to worry about uniforms. then i hit my office.

best part of the day: the massage chair. i hogged it for most of the morning, and it is goooooooooooooood.

today is the first time that our current team has been together, not just in a long time but two of them hadn't even met until this morning. there was lots to tell from all sides, an incredible amount of mail to deal with, and i spent the morning trying to sort stuff out and stressing.

lunch was alright, we had a team meeting afterwards - a lot of funny stories, but what was really nice was receiving praise for a project that i did on the side that's suddenly been put into use and is appreciated.

around 2pm i left the office to head for the city officer for a 3.40pm appointment (cutting it close considering the public transport issues), and as i walked out the building i saw someone from my unit start his car - i stopped him and discovered that he was going to the city officer too!

my experience at the city officer was stressful and unpleasant. they really tried to be helpful, but the problem i'm experiencing with tuesday's requirements isn't something that anyone can really help me with in good conscience. basically, i have an exemption from physical tasks because of my slipped disc, and i won't be accepted if i have any exemptions. no doctor would be willing to cancel an exemption for the obvious and completely reasonable fear of being held liable in case something happened to me.

i saw a couple of guys from the course, milled around, then headed off to my old base to go and say hi.

repeat: what a difference! it really does feel like coming home, the people are warm and it was great seeing everyone, catching up, talking about the future... i'm blown away as usual to discover that it's not just nicer in my head.

piles and i bussed home together (we're pretty much neighbours), and we had a rather intense discussion about work ethic, academia and life goals. liberating, and i think that on some level i might have gotten through to him. although past experience tells me he'll forget it all by morning.

i've spent the evening organizing for tomorrow / the next three weeks, interviewing a potential (kinda cute) flatmate, watching dr horrible's sing-along blog [brilliant!], eating with crash bandicoot and now trying to pack an enormous amount of gear into very tiny spaces. once i'm done i'll shower and pass out like a good little soldier.

post-nightcap

it's late, i've actually had a drink (with ze germans and ru55), i'm mostly ready for the morning... but i haven't rested and i haven't studied nearly enough.

another spacex achievement!

there's still a possibility that potential enemies thrive on mars...

MTHEL appears to be operational!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

distracted

i learned a bit, but i just couldn't get into it properly. i did eventually manage to find the american girl, the original alice has been digitized (and is beautiful), and here's a quick summary of the sderot attacks over the past eight years.

i tried watching preaching to the perverted, but it's a horrible movie and requires audience participation: i can't watch it alone.

i'm so glad there's good goa still being produced: i've been listening to a bunch of current goa compilations (goa 2008, progressive goa trance 2008, goa beach 2008 to be precise) this afternoon and it's a bit saddening that i'm probably not going to be able to make a real party until i get back to south africa.

we interviewed two potential flatmates today. the first unpotentialed [wow] himself on sight, he's probably over fifty and automatically doesn't fit with the program. the second guy was a bit... awkward at first, but seems pretty cool.

now to get ready for the morning... it's that time again :P

almost ready

hmm - i've been flicking between preparing for the week and staring at my monitor. i felt horrible this morning... *deep sigh*

totemism - etnica remixed is doing it for me at the moment.

there's a lot of linkage going around. the most important news is rather picturesque: fallout 3 is on its way, and some of these shots gave me goosebumps (specifically the shots of the pipboy, and the cityscapes are magic).

moonflake's description of tycho brahe's death is something that reading penny arcade always reminds me of... i don't know what made me check out wikipedia, which cites an alternative possibility.

if anyone can help me find the rss feed for ding!, please send me the link! or is it a subscription based feed? if so, i don't want in on principle.

speaking of which, scott kurtz mentioned triumph the insult comic dog at the comic con, and that set me searching. i found his bon jovi rip, the video of him poking fun at the republicans on global warming (and their general stance apropos religion and science), and a brilliant music video wherein he describes well everything i hate about hip-hip culture (or lack thereof).

no rest for the wicked

the shopping went smoothly, and i came back home with intent to crash.

that's an awful pun, i know. i spent my entire afternoon either playing crash or tracking people down on facebook. i lie when i say people, i mean person, and specifically the american girl. i realized about halfway through that it's possible that she doesn't have internet access... i know what it's like to be a lonely soldier. unlikely, but possible.

this evening, while the kid and i were taking turns with the controller, the temperature suddenly and dramatically increased from warm to sweltering - that's not supposed to happen. i felt horrible afterwards. i'm still not feeling 100%, and if i get another summer cold i'm going to be in deep shite come tuesday.

the kid and i took a taxi to ramat gan to watch the dark night. it totally rocks - solid and smooth.

now for bed.

Friday, August 01, 2008

the last week of midsection

overall impression: disgusting.
overall result: highly successful.
overall satisfaction level: "it's only just begun"

i've made mike and ike's known to my fellow soldiers, and now everyone's hooked ^_^

27th:

i arrived on base an hour early, which gave me a headstart on studying. we then went through the physical trauma of unpacking everybody's gear from storage... when only a third of us had arrived. in the heat, already tired, and all the group leaders had to do to make it fair and efficient was to wait an hour for the rest of the guys to pitch.

as it was, we spent the day wasting time, and it took me until the end to convince them to let me study whenever the clock strikes "game-time". i had a forrest gump moment stripping my weapon, and spent the evening in the kitchens washing dishes. while there, i met a beautiful american girl who seems rather nice.

28th:

i pulled a guard shift at 3am - please notice how they made an effort to keep their promise to catch me up, kitchen and guard duty in the same night in addition to the wasted hours beforehand. instead of going back to sleep, i studied from the end of my shift until sunrise, and passed out almost in time to wake up again.

in the morning, our particularly stupid (and loud) group leader pulled me and two others aside: "if you want to pray in the mornings, you either pray every morning or none. decide now."

not only was that a completely illegal command, but since the ensuing argument every time i did consider going to a service i thought of her and got pissed off, which for me ruined something that i was beginning to enjoy again. it took me a couple of mornings to become agitated enough to file a formal complaint, and i took her aside for a chat just before doing so. when i reported to her commander she took it better than i expected, so i guess the chat must have helped.

we spent the morning studying alone, in our tents, and it was the best study session we had the entire time. i was taken aside so that our officer could interview me - i didn't think to remind him to ask me about my future aspirations, so he dismissed me after i listed my hobbies. useful.

29th:

we had to wake up around 4.15am, and were surprised with 15 minutes to pack and stow all our gear. nice one. we were bussed to a different base to undergo the final physical and written examinations.

86 "special" situps: killer crunches that aren't very good for you. and they're not that easy to do. i got my partner to complete his for the first time, and i managed them all without any problems, but the fun part was the thirty or so that i didn't even notice because i was busy reciting "the spirit of the IDF". the group leader next to me was totally blown away, the guy assisting me was giggling, and the examining officer advised me to recite it in my head as the next base we'll be doing the physical on doesn't allow for that sort of thing.

bummer.

75 push-ups: i suck. i can manage 33, but my arms simply give out afterwards. i really need to work on that.

the 4km walk: i just can't do the power-walk. the slowest out-pace me by a couple of kph, and i'll admit it does look like i'm taking a stroll... but i'm not. i really can't walk faster than what i'm doing, and every single person who saw me called out to put my back into it or laughed at me. after about fifteen times i'd had enough and i'd lost my sense of humour, and shouted back "what, would you like me to put myself into a wheelchair for this stupid test?!"

that wasn't the right thing to say. i'm very lucky that the person in question was the same officer from the sit-ups and push-ups, who seems to be quite into me and wants me to pass. she gave me a short lecture on exactly how uncool what i said was, and then added another couple of things i need to watch out for. the bottom line is that in addition to her being right, and in addition to my needing to learn how to power-walk without screwing up my neck, i need to keep my cool.

about half of our group had to wait outside for the written examination... and i allowed myself a much needed nap instead of doing the last-minute studying that usually doesn't help anyway.

the big test: the very same officer (suspicious, much?) helped me out a lot with the hebrew... i actually felt the need to hint to make sure that she didn't help me with the subject material itself - at one point she saw where my mouse was hovering and gave me a look that i had to make an effort to ignore. i covered my screen with my hand and she got the idea :P

71 with a pass mark of 75 didn't do much for my head, but i didn't know at the time that it was only a partial mark and there would be a factor... my final mark was the second highest in the group!

we had a solid lunch, and then had to wait for another group to write theirs. none of us cared if they had an advantage (they'd heard a good amount of the answers from the previous examinees) because we had an hour and a half of solid siesta. imagine about 25 soldiers lying on the floor of a semi-abandoned military warehouse, snoring away in absolute bliss. that was the most perfect army afternoon i think any of us has ever had!

30th:

a small group of us spent the morning doing physical labour. i was assigned to two groups (again with the learning assistance, my commanders really cared), and while performing the tasks for the second one i managed to hurt my ankle :(

the man in charge of the first group laughed at me for only managing 33 push-ups the day before - the dude's a tank and can do 150 in a set. he stopped laughing when it came time to carry the gear - everyone, including him, struggled to pick up the single stacks and i was easily loping with a stack on each shoulder. neither of us can figure out what the deal is.

girl in the armoury: "do you want me to take your weapon?"
"i've got two shekels, how much of your time does that buy me?"
i'm really glad she didn't take that as sexual harrassment.

i was given my officer's review - and my only negative quality is my lack of trust regarding my group leaders. that's surprising... :S

at the tail end of our closing discussion with our course commander:
"do you want to say something?"
"no, i deliberately didn't put my hand up."
"so you have something to say."
"yes, but i don't want to say it."
"then tell me in private afterwards."

i didn't want my group to get the impression that i was making suggestions and comments behind their backs, so i did pipe up in the public forum. i told him that the group leaders are responsible for the lack of discipline, because if you shout a lot without actually punishing you're sending a simple message that's not very positive.

immediately, the group leaders and sergeants pounced: "it's suspicious that you didn't mention it before!". i managed to catch him afterwards and explain that aside from it not being my place to make that observation, i have no idea if it's a good thing or not that the group will be shocked into obedience when they get to the next level.

in the evening, i had my butt kicked while playfighting with a kid who knows karate - i've forgotten how to fight. he's good, but i should be better than i am. we then walked 3.5km really, really, really slowly. it was boring and unpleasant.

31st:

three faults in one morning. i switched off my alarm in my sleep, and i don't know why getting dressed took me so long - i arrived late to the first formation of the day. for my next trick i relied on someone else's timekeeping, and he was late for the following formation.

i can't recall the third fault right now.

while cleaning the toilets, i came across a giant moth, remarkably close in resemblance to a bat, both in ugly mug and in size. it was upside down, and to test its status i gave it a nudge... it didn't like that.

whenever we get into formation we need to provide a list with the locations of the group's absentees. yesterday morning, instead of writing on a piece of paper the list was written on the back of my undershirt, and when the group leader asked us where the list was somebody played james brown - i feel good and i performed a striptease... she was shocked, but it went down well ;)

after getting that over with, the american girl and i had breakfast together. an enjoyable discussion, i wish i knew which direction this is going in.

the officer who helped me out with tuesday's exam needed cable ties, and she noticed my dog-tags haven't been "fixed". she gave me her tag-covering and told me to keep it as a reminder, and to return it after the next phase of the course...

the names of all those who passed the course were read out loud with everyone together. i was completely apathetic until my name was read, and when i heard "pass" the sense of relief was overwhelming - i hadn't realized just how stressed i'd been.

one of the girls who passed managed to get permanently barred from the next phase... during a discussion with a high-ranking officer she couldn't keep her mouth shut. i sat horrified while listening to people saying things completely out of place, and the others involved were really lucky that one person's idiocy distracted the man from the rest of them.

the guy in the base cafeteria is a complete wanker. he can't keep track of cash, and he denied accepting NIS 50 from the girl after me in the queue when i saw him take it and stuff it in the cash drawer. eventually he gave her her money back - then gave me mine back, removing my purchased items and change from the counter before kicking us both out. on monday morning i WILL have him hung out to dry.

the arrival home: getting home, purchasing bad boys 2, full metal jacket and the back to the future trilogy on ebay, getting coffee and a super tuna salad while reading the fall of hyperion at coffeeholic, handling the laundry and chatting with my mum and my course commander... i'm totally impressed with myself that i didn't simply pass out until morning.

the closing party (this morning):

overall impression: disgusting.
overall result: i was there.
overall satisfaction level: trying not to retch.

the kids picked the place in the port that attracts the most arsim. some of the guys got way too drunk. the american girl and i had some good moments, and some completely arbitrary ones that stem from my inability to communicate in a club environment. the note we said goodbye on was lukewarm at best, which i'm taking as a bad sign :/

i played a solid half an hour of abe's exoddus before getting some sleep. i woke up around 10.30 to pick up crash bandicoot: warped... i'd forgotten just how addictive it is! now for the shopping.